Thursday, July 3, 2008

‘Fro Me to You—Meet Gus

In this week’s edition of Kristen’s Sincerely ‘Fro Me to You, I would like to introduce y’all to someone. This someone I actually don’t know very well, but would like to have known. (wow, what tense is that?)

I’d like for you to meet the patriarch of my Greek family, my Papou (grandfather):

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Constantine Nicholas (Insert LONG Greek last name)

“Gus”

Unfortunately, Papou died when I was about 3 years old, so I have no real recollection of him. I just know the stories I have heard throughout my life. My Papou would be at the top of my “who I would like to meet” list.

Here are a few things I do know about him:

  • He came to the US from the small island of Skyros when he was a young man. I understand his first attempt was thwarted by his mother.
  • Due to his sneaky departure, he did not use his real name when he went through Ellis Island, so we cannot track his entry into the US.
  • He and my Yaya lived in Mobile, AL where they raised 2 boys and 1 girl—Nick, George and Maria (what else are Greek children named).
  • “Gus” was a common nickname for the popular Greek first name, Constantine.
  • He did return to his native island to give back to the community
  • He was not tall in stature, but meant what he said.
  • He boxed, and there is some family story that he boxed someone famous (I cannot remember who, Bob Hope maybe)
  • He owned a restaurant named “Constantine’s” and the food was delicious. So good the sign read “world famous”.

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This photo, taken in 1952, is of his original restaurant in Mobile before it moved to it’s final location sometime later. I thought it was funny to notice the sign also reads, “air cooled.”

I have always wondered what it would have been like to have known him. What was he like? What would we have done together? Would he have taken me back to the “old country”? Would he have taught me all his “famous” recipes.

I would like to hear his life story and all about my family back in Greece. But God did not have it in His plan for me to know Papou. I wish He had.

And after watching “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, ohhh, about a thousand times, it makes me wonder more about him.

Here are the things I wonder about Papou:

  • Did his voice sound like Gus Portokalos? Probably.
  • Was he able to take any word and prove that it has Greek origins? Maybe
  • Did he ever use Windex for skin maladies? Probably not.
  • Did he ever say, “There are two kinds of people - Greeks, and everyone else who wish they was Greek.” *laugh* I hope he did.

Thanks for letting me share my Papou with you. I hope to see him again one day, and I have a lot of questions to ask him.

For more Sincerely ‘Fro Me to You fun, click on over to Kristen’s at We are THAT Family.

14 comments:

Crayl said...

I never knew Gus was the nickname for Constantine, it makes perfect sense...right? :) It's a great story. I am glad your family passes along information and family tales.

P.S. He loves you... said...

Sweet!

Happy Mommy said...

Very sweet! I am more and more thankful everyday for the strong relationship I have with my Grandparents.
Thank you for sharing your Papou with us!

jamie in rose cottage said...

Sweet post! Thanks for sharing him with us today!

We are THAT Family said...

What an awesome tribute to your grandfather! I think it is so neat that you know where you came from and have a great heritage. Most of us are Heinz 57!

Thanks for sharing.

Twice Blessed said...

What a great post Tammy. You make me laugh everytime I visit your site.

TJ said...

That was really sweet! My friend's son is named Konstantinos. (ok I think that was it) She begged her hubby not to follow Greek tradition and name their son that (the other family name was already taken) but she lost. We always refer to him as K.

The Apron Queen said...

Wonderful post! And I love that movie too. He sounds like a great man.

Come see my underpants! http://anapronaday.blogspot.com

Bir Hair Envy said...

Great post! Now I think we all wish that we had met your grandfather :)

LifeatTheCircus said...

He sounds like a wonderful man.What a nice tribute to him!

Valarie said...

He sounds like a great man! After hearing all that I wish I had know your Papou also. :)

Muthering Heights said...

He sounds like he would have some wonderful stories to tell you! What a nice tribute!

Joanna said...

Thanks for stopping by. Thank you for sharing your story, it was wonderful.

I am now thinking about my grandfather who I remember, but was really too young to learn much from him. There are lot's of things that I wonder what he did and said and how things were. Thanks!

Shannon (muzbeecrazy.com) said...

Love it! My kids call my husband's parents "Popou" and "Ya-ya." I was cracking up b/c my father-in-law and brother-in-law are both named Nick. And both of my husband's uncles are in the food industry! And I can honestly say they do not use Windex for all medical issues either!!